Romans Chapter six

VERSES 1-4 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Apparently,  some people distorted Paul’s teaching to suggest that if we are freed from the Law and from the consequences of sin through Christ’s atoning death – and since there is nothing we could have done to save ourselves as salvation is by grace alone, by faith alone, by Christ alone – it therefore no longer matters if we go on sinning, otherwise it might be inferred that we are saved from sin by ourselves stopping to sin.

That may also imply that we are saved from sin by something that we also do – and yet it is also emphasized that we can do nothing to save ourselves.

However, being saved from sin is effective, not by our own free will by itself, because our will, when controlled by the sinful nature, is also in bondage to the sinful nature.

We are saved when we submit to Christ, offering ourselves like living sacrifices on the altar, to allow our minds to be renewed by his word and to be controlled by the Holy Spirit.

It is through the word of Christ working within us by his Spirit, which requires our response of obedience which comes from faith, that we are saved.

The apostle Jude was constrained by the Holy Spirit to urge us to contend for the faith – because of the very fact, that some people had changed the grace of God into a license for immorality:

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. 4 For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord (Jude verses 3-4).

VERES 5-7 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin– 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

Jesus said that we shall know the truth and that the truth will set us free from our slavery to sin.

Have we only been freed from the consequence of sin, which is death? Or have we indeed been set free from sin? How have we been set free from sin?

Through death, by participating, through baptism – into the death of Christ, through which we take up our cross and put to death the sinful nature, so that we may also be raised to new life by the power of the Holy Spirit – (as we also noted in our study of the previous chapter).

This is the theme which Paul continues to teach and elaborate in the following verses:

VERSES 8-12 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.

Can we sincerely, with genuine faith, count ourselves dead to sin but alive to God if we go on habitually indulging the sinful nature? Of course not!

VERES 13-14 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

The Law, as Paul teaches in the next chapter, did not enable sinners to become righteous, but it actually caused the sin which was in us to spring to life and become all the more manifest (Romans 7:9).

However, now that we are under God’s grace, we are raised to new life having been freed from sin and from the Law.

But if we are no longer under the Law – and if we are under God’s grace, does that mean then that we may go on sinning without any consequence?

VERES 15-17 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey–whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.

Here again, in Paul’s teaching, by which we are called to the obedience that comes from faith, – it is clear that genuine faith is demonstrated by obeying the Word of Christ which we hear through the preaching of the gospel and the teaching of the Scriptures – and which we also believe and act upon.

The following verses, in concluding this chapter, must indeed be a confession of genuine faith:

VERSES 18-19 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. 19 I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We are slaves to the things which control us. We are slaves to the things to which we completely devote our lives, our time, our attention, our activity, our money, our strength and our devotion.

Like Paul, we are called to become bond-slaves of our Lord Jesus Christ because we have had a revelation of the extent of his love demonstrated towards us which we also experience when we receive the promised Holy Spirit.

There can be no genuine without also faithfulness – and faith results in obedience, spiritual growth and maturity, study of the scriptures, discipline in lifestyle and habits, prayer, worship, fellowship with one another etc.

We are not saved and justified by practicing these disciplines, but, the reality that we have been saved through faith will certainly be proven through us doing these things – which are the works God prepared in advance for us to do.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).